Law

A Divorce in Alabama: Discovery and Investigation

Divorce proceedings can be complicated, especially when distributing assets and apportioning debts. While some divorcing couples can settle their differences amicably, others require the assistance of lawyers or mediators to resolve. If a solution cannot be reached, a court or arbitrator will rule.

Different U.S. states use equitable distribution or community property systems to handle the split of marital assets or the assignment of marital debts. Alabama is seen as a state with “equitable distribution.” Any assets or obligations jointly owned by a married couple must be distributed equally.

Alabama’s property partition laws may appear straightforward on paper, but in practice, they can be very challenging. So it’s essential to seek the legal counsel of a skilled Alabama divorce attorney.

As a general guideline, divorce proceedings in Alabama usually follow the following steps:

Complaint

The divorce procedure begins with filing a complaint about divorce by the Plaintiff or their legal representative. Besides identifying the parties, the county or counties where they reside should be included in the complaint to establish the venue and to demonstrate the circuit court’s jurisdiction to divorce them.

Divorce in Alabama may be granted on “fault grounds,” such as adultery. The most common “no-fault” reasons, including incompatibility and an irretrievable dissolution of the marriage, are asserted.

Answer

The defendant must file responses to all claims within 30 days of service of the complaint. They have the option to refute, admit, or comment on each accusation. Even though the following counterclaim may express the identical grounds as the initial divorce complaint, the answer must “deny” the complaint’s divorce grounds to establish a genuine disagreement.

Discovery

Any party may submit a discovery motion after the defendant has proposed an answer to request the data or records needed to support their case.

In addition to scheduled depositions, subpoenas can be used to compel the other party to produce key documents.

Discovery reveals details on the case’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of money, behavior, marital and parental conflicts, and other areas.

Court Hearing

Negotiations for a settlement start once all intermediate motions made during discovery have been decided. During this phase, among other things, concerns about the financial commitments of both spouses, cohabitation laws, child visitation and custody are explored.

The court schedules a final hearing if no agreement is made during these discussions.

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